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OK, on to the Olympic stuff:
What number of medals will Canada win? It is extra-hard to say this time
Even in the very best of instances, predicting Olympic medals is an inexact science. And the Tokyo Video games are usually not happening in the very best of instances. A once-in-a-century international pandemic precipitated the cancellation of numerous world championships, World Cups and different main occasions over the previous yr and a half or so, rendering many Olympic athletes unable to compete — and even prepare correctly — for an extended stretch of time. Worldwide competitors regained some normalcy over the previous couple of months, however issues remained spotty amid all of the journey restrictions, security considerations and different complications concerned with attempting to play sports activities throughout a worldwide well being disaster.
All this has been robust on the athletes — clearly. And it is also made issues tougher for forecasters like Gracenote, an information firm that tasks the medal winners for each occasion within the Olympics primarily based on outcomes from “key international and continental competitions” for the reason that final Summer season Video games. With these competitions in brief provide, Gracenote calls the Tokyo Olympics even “extra unpredictable than regular.”
The largest black field is China, which has largely stayed away from worldwide competitors for the reason that begin of the pandemic. Gracenote says that almost 80 per cent of the Chinese language athletes its mannequin ranks within the prime eight of their occasions haven’t produced any ends in the final yr and a half. Nonetheless, China is projected to complete second within the medal standings with 33 gold (seven behind the USA) and third within the complete depend with 66 (the U.S. is projected for 96, and the Russian group is second at 68). However the system may very well be underrating China’s podium possibilities. “No different prime nation has a lot lacking info,” says Simon Gleave, the Head of Analytics for Gracenote Sports activities.
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Regardless of all these caveats, it is nonetheless enjoyable to dive into the projections for an thought of what to anticipate and who to observe over the subsequent 17 days in Tokyo. Listed below are probably the most attention-grabbing issues the Gracenote mannequin predicts for Canada, together with some locations the place I believe it could be slightly off:
Canada’s projected medal depend appears to be like very acquainted. The mannequin likes Canada to win 21 medals. That is one decrease than its complete from the 2016 Video games in Rio, however one increased than its common over the previous three Summer season Video games. In the meantime, Canadians are projected to win 4 gold medals — the identical quantity they took residence from Rio. Gracenote’s mannequin tasks Damian Warner (decathlon), Jessica Klimkait (judo, girls’s 57kg division), Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay (diving, girls’s 10m synchronized occasion), and Laurence Vincent Lapointe and Katie Vincent (canoe, girls doubles occasion) will attain the highest of the rostrum. The betting markets appear to be knowledgeable by Gracenote’s projections, however, for what’s it is value, they’re roughly in keeping with the mannequin. The present consensus over/underneath traces for Canada are 4.5 gold medals and 21.5 complete.
Greater than 80 per cent of Canada’s medals will probably be gained by girls, in keeping with the mannequin. That is truly down from the eye-popping 95 per cent share it predicted in April, however nonetheless outstanding. But not stunning. Girls accounted for just below three quarters of Canada’s medals in Rio. Swimming sensation Penny Oleksiak led the best way there with 4 — two particular person, two relay. The Gracenote mannequin has her lacking the rostrum in Tokyo, the place it likes Vincent Lapointe, Benfeito and fellow diver Jennifer Abel to tie for the Canadian lead with a pair of medals every — one solo, one with a accomplice. Different notable projections for Canadian feminine athletes embrace: Rosie MacLennan falls simply in need of her third consecutive girls’s trampoline gold medal, taking silver; Ellie Black turns into the primary Canadian lady to win a medal in conventional gymnastics by ending second within the all-around occasion, and 2016 wrestling gold medallist Erica Wiebe additionally lands silver.
A number of locations the place the Canadian projections could be off: On the pessimistic aspect, Gracenote’s concern that its mannequin is underestimating Chinese language athletes seems to manifest with the Benfeito/McKay gold-medal choose. China just about owns diving: it gained seven of the eight gold medals in Rio, with the boys’s 3m springboard the one miss. Certain sufficient, the betting markets have China’s 10m synchro duo as an enormous favorite. On the optimistic aspect, Vincent Lapointe was probably the most dominant girls’s canoe athlete on this planet for the higher a part of the previous decade, successful half a dozen world titles within the singles 200m occasion, which was simply added to the Olympics. However a optimistic doping take a look at in 2019 (later overturned) took her out of competitors for some time and precipitated her to overlook the latest world championships, which may very well be skewing her projection downward. It is also curious that the mannequin picks Canada to win solely two swimming medals after Canadians racked up eight at the latest world championships. It has two-time and reigning world 100m backstroke champ Kylie Masse settling for silver in her marquee occasion, and reigning 100m butterfly world champ Maggie Mac Neil lacking the rostrum altogether. On the boys’s aspect, sprinter Andre De Grasse at all times appears to exceed expectations. He gained three medals in Rio (100, 200 and 4×100) and has by no means missed the rostrum in a person occasion he is entered on the Olympics or world championships. However the mannequin has him leaving Tokyo with only a bronze within the 200.
It is the calm earlier than the storm
With the stage being set for the opening ceremony, not lots in the best way of competitors is occurring tomorrow in Tokyo (that is tonight and tomorrow morning in Canadian time zones). Listed below are two issues it’s best to find out about:
The opening ceremony is tomorrow morning. The present begins Friday at 7 a.m. ET, and dwell protection begins at 6:30 a.m. ET on the CBC TV community, CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports activities’ Tokyo 2020 website. Olympic opening ceremonies have a (deserved) status as over-produced, bloated spectacles. However count on a smaller, extra muted show as Japan and the remainder of the world proceed to grapple with the pandemic. Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium will probably be devoid of followers — if you happen to do not depend the appreciable variety of assorted dignitaries who’re invited. Solely 30-40 of Canada’s 371 athletes are anticipated to participate — together with flag-bearers Miranda Ayim (girls’s basketball) and Nathan Hirayama (males’s rugby sevens). The remainder are both competing elsewhere in Japan, on the verge of competing or have not arrived but (athletes had been requested to indicate up no sooner than 5 days earlier than their occasions). The present has already had its share of controversy. Its director was fired over a Holocaust joke he included in a comedy routine in 1998, a composer resigned over feedback he made again within the ’90s about bullying, and the artistic director stepped down after saying a well-known heavyset Japanese comedienne may carry out as an “Olympig.” Read more about what to expect in the ceremony and how to watch it here.
Rowing competitors begins tonight. It is simply heats on the primary day (medal races do not begin till Monday night time in Canadian time zones), however that is our first take a look at Canada’s largest rowing group since 1996. Ten Canadian boats (identical as in Atlanta) are entered in varied occasions. They’re unlikely to match the six medals the ’96 rowers introduced residence, however Canada has just a few podium contenders. The perfect is the ladies’s pair crew of Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens. They gained gold on the 2018 world championships and bronze in ’19 — the final time the worlds had been held. Filmer and Janssens are within the water for his or her warmth on Friday night time. Tonight, the Canadians in motion are Carling Zeeman (girls’s single sculls), Trevor Jones (males’s single sculls), and Gabrielle Smith and Jessica Sevick (girls’s double sculls). Heats start at 7:30 p.m. ET and you may stream them dwell on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports activities’ Tokyo 2020 web site. Read more about the Canadian rowing team’s efforts to rebuild from its humbling one-medal showing in Rio here.
One thing else to take a look at
The 4% Rising e-newsletter. A examine finished just a few years again discovered that solely 4 per cent of conventional media protection was dedicated to girls’s sports activities. Therefore the identify of this text targeted on rising the viewers by telling you what, when and the place to observe. Beginning Friday, they’re specializing in the ladies’s occasions it’s best to catch within the Tokyo Olympics. You’ll be able to learn the newest version and subscribe here.
You are in control. Discuss to you tomorrow.